Amex Platinum Benefits: Lounge Access & Much More | Thrifty Traveler
Amex Platinum Benefits

Amex Platinum Benefits in 2021: Unbeatable Lounge Access, Airline Credits & More

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There’s no question the Platinum Card from American Express is one of the best cards in the world of miles and points.  And that’s much more than just a big welcome bonus. It really all comes down to benefits.

Between unrivaled lounge access, instant hotel status, and $400 in travel credits split between Uber and airlines, the Amex Platinum has one of the best sets of perks in the travel rewards world. And with most travel on hold, American Express has added even more benefits to this card during the pandemic to keep cardmembers happy.

All these Amex Platinum benefits are one reason why we urge readers not to rule out even high-fee credit cards like this one and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as we think they outweigh the card’s $550 annual fee. But that means you can’t let these perks go to waste – and that may require some work on your end. Here’s a breakdown of all the benefits of this top travel card and how you can put them to use.

amex platinum card

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express


Getting Started with Your New Amex Platinum Benefits

First things first, you need to get the Platinum card to get all these benefits. And now could be a great time to apply, as you may be eligible for an unbeatable 125,000-point welcome bonus via CardMatch. The standard bonus is 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in six months, so this bonus of more than twice as many points is worth trying for.

One important thing to note about the American Express Platinum: It’s technically not a credit card. For years, it was considered a charge card, without a set line of credit. These days, you can carry a balance on some select expenses. But unlike most traditional credit cards, there’s no set spending limit. While that may seem like a distinction without a difference, that means some lower credit scores may still be approved for this card.


Unboxing your American Express Platinum Card is … well, it’s a bit of an experience. The packaging reinforces the fact that this is a premium card. It’s laid out in a nice wooden display that doubles as a phone stand.

Once you’ve activated your card and set up your account online, it’s time to get those perks rolling. Most of what you need will be in the Benefits section, which you can find under the “Membership” tab.

Amex Platinum Benefits Section

Lounge Access: Get Into Lots of Airport Lounges

No credit card will get you into more airport lounges than the Platinum Card. American Express calls it the Global Lounge Collection.

For starters, you can get into American Express Centurion Lounges, some of the best lounges you’ll find in the country (and, increasingly, worldwide). From Seattle (SEA) to Denver (DEN) to Las Vegas (LAS) and New York City (JFK), these are excellent spaces to unwind before your flight. 

amex platinum benefits 

So long as you’re flying Delta that day, you can also access the Delta Sky Club. Your Platinum card will get you into smaller lounge networks like Plaza Premium, Airspace, and Escape Lounges – including our go-to lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)

Last but not least, you get access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide. But while you only need to flash your Platinum card to get into many of these lounges, you’ll actually need to activate your complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership to get into Priority Pass lounges.

Amex Platinum Benefits Priority Pass
Get signed up for Priority Pass through your American Express Platinum account ASAP!

You should get your card within a week or so, and be sure to save the materials to register your account online. Once you’re logged into the Priority Pass app, you can simply pull up your digital card on the app at lounge entrances rather than carry it in your wallet.

For all but Delta SkyClubs, two guests can accompany you into any lounge for free. The Sky Club charges Platinum cardholders $39 per guest. 

Thrifty Tip: Add your Platinum card to your Delta account, and you can get into Sky Clubs just by scanning your mobile boarding pass.

Sadly, this Priority Pass membership has taken a hit. As of August 2019, Priority Pass members with American Express cards can no longer receive credits to eat at airport restaurants.


Uber Credit: Get Uber Rides (or Uber Eats) for Free

The American Express Platinum card gives you up to $200 in credits toward Uber rides split up across all 12 months of the year.

You get up to $15 every month except for December, when you get $35 to round out the year. However, getting these credits isn’t automatic, either. You’ll have to punch in your card details into your Uber account as a form of payment through the app. Once your card is in the system, the app will track how many credits you have available.

Amex Platinum Benefits Uber Credit 

These credits reset every month, and any unused portion will not roll over to the next month. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it benefit, so make sure to use them up each month. Luckily, Uber has made it much easier to automatically use these credits on each ride.

Need a way to use up your remaining credits? They work for UberEats, Uber’s food delivery service, too!


Security Checkpoint Fees: Get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

For any frequent traveler, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are a must. PreCheck is your ticket to skip the long lines and speed through airport security, while Global Entry can get you through immigration faster. And the American Express Platinum Card can get you both.

The card offers up to a $100 credit every four years to sign up for either one of these five-year memberships.

Free Global Entry Amex Platinum benefits 

Weighing PreCheck versus Global Entry? Our recommendation is to opt for Global Entry, as your membership actually comes with PreCheck, too. Read our in-depth guide on how to get signed up for Global Entry. And learn everything you need to know about applying for and using TSA PreCheck.

All you have to do to get this benefit is pay your application fee with your new American Express Platinum card. The expense should get instantly reimbursed. Already signed up for one of these great trusted traveler programs? Use your card to pay for a friend or family member’s application!


Airline Credits: Maximize Those Amex Platinum Airline Credits

The American Express Platinum card offers another $200 in credits every year toward airline credits. Unfortunately, these credits aren’t as expansive as the $300 annually offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Nor are they as simple to use. 

But it’s still an easy way to offset the card’s annual fee: It can cover the cost of checked luggage, seat assignments, change fees, in-flight meals, and more on U.S. airlines. Essentially, many fees aside from the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi, cabin upgrades, and the plane ticket itself will trigger the credit. 

Read our full guide on the best ways to maximize Amex airline credits. Pro tip: There are a few slick ways you can still cover airfare with these credits.

You’ll need to log in and manually select an airline each year, choosing from: Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United.  And while you’re generally locked into that airline for the year, you may be able to switch it up by calling American Express. 

You can also track how much of your credit you have used throughout the year in your Benefits portal.

amex platinum benefits airline credits 

These credits reset every calendar year. That means you can get up to $400 in airline credits in your first year with the card, depending on when you opened your account.

Sadly, it has gotten a bit harder to maximize these credits. For years, you were able to buy airline gift cards and trigger the credit. But that has stopped working for both Southwest and Delta gift cards, the last two airlines for which this loophole functioned.

Still, it shouldn’t be a stretch to get $200 in value out of these credits.


Hotel Status: Instant Marriott and Hilton Gold Status

The American Express Platinum Card is a quick ticket to hotel status. You can instantly enroll for Gold-level status with Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what each is worth. Hilton Honors Gold Status gets you 25% bonus points on paid stays, free upgrades when space is available, a fifth night free when staying with points and free breakfast for you and a guest. That free breakfast benefit can be insanely lucrative – it’s one of our favorite hotel benefits, period. That alone makes Hilton Gold status valuable.

Amex Platinum Benefits Hilton Gold Status 

Thrifty Tip: Heading to Vegas? You can use Hilton Honors Gold status to work your way toward Caesar’s Diamond Status, which can unlock some amazing benefits for your time in Sin City.

Meanwhile, your Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status allows you to earn a 25% points bonus on paid stays, upgraded internet access, space-available room upgrades and priority late checkout.

You have to individually enroll for each status upgrade with your loyalty account number for the hotel brands. The registration generally takes a day or two to process. Just head to the Amex Platinum benefits tab to start the process with each hotel chain. Or fire up the online chat function and ask an Amex representative to do it for you.


Shopping Credit: Get a $100 Annual Credit at Saks Fifth Ave

This is one of the newest perk, and it just adds to the card’s value.

A few years back the American Express Platinum card rolled out $100 in credits on Saks Fifth Avenue purchases each calendar year. It’s divvied up into two, $50 credits.

The first credit is available through June, while the second becomes available July through the end of the year. Unused credits don’t roll over, so remember to use them or lose them. It appears that gift cards do not qualify to get reimbursed. After activating the credit through your Amex Platinum benefits tab, the credit should automatically apply.

Check out some of the best ways to use your $50 Saks Fifth Ave credits.


Car Rental Insurance: Rental Car Benefits with Hertz, Avis & National

Renting a car is easier and more comfortable when you carry the American Express Platinum card. Just as with hotel chains, the Amex Platinum gets you rental car benefits with instant status at several car rental companies. 

Our favorite among the bunch is Emerald Club Executive status with National. That’s because you get access to the special Executive Section, where you can choose any full-size car or higher when paying a midsize car rate. That means that you can make a reservation of any-full size car and skip the National check-in desk entirely. Instead, head straight for the Emerald Aisle and take your pick.

It also gets you free upgrades and extra points when you book. 

Amex Platinum Benefits Car Rental Insurance 

Read more about why we love National Car status and the Emerald Aisle.

With Avis Preferred Status, you get to skip the line altogether and pick a car, or get 25% off your rental and a one-class car upgrade. Hertz Gold Plus Status means you can head straight for the Gold counter at check-in, where it’s available. And it gets you some lower rates and a one-class car upgrade as well.

You have to enroll through your Amex Platinum benefits page to get status with all three rental car companies. Those upgrades generally take a few days to process, so you may want to plan ahead. 


Authorized Users: They Get Amex Platinum Benefits Too

You’re not the only one who can benefit from Amex Platinum benefits.

American Express allows you to add authorized users to your account, and they’ll share many of these perks. At $175 per year, it’s not exactly cheap. But that’s the rate that you pay regardless of whether you add just one user or three.

So long as you add three or fewer additional users, you’ll still pay a total of $175 each year. It’s one of the reasons we encourage travelers to add authorized users to their Platinum cards. Your fourth, fifth, and sixth authorized users will cost an additional $175 each. That’s probably not worth it.

So what do these users get?

  • American Express Centurion Lounge Access: Yes.
  • Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership: Yes.
  • Delta SkyClub Access (When Flying Delta): Yes.
  • $100 Credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: Yes.
  • Earn 5x Points on Airfare Booked Directly with Airlines and Hotels Booked Through Yes.
  • $200 in Annual Airline Fee Credits: No.
  • $200 in Annual Uber Ride Credits: No.
  • $100 in Annual Saks Fifth Avenue Credits: No.
  • Instant Hotel Status with Marriott and Hilton: Yes.
  • Instant Rental Car Agency Status with Hertz, Avis, and National: Yes.

That’s a lot of perks that you can pass on to your friends and family members. Only the airline, Uber, and Saks Fifth Avenue credits don’t pass down.

The Amex Platinum lounge benefits alone can be worth a ton. For example, if you try to get a spouse into the Delta Sky Club, you’d have to pay $39 for each visit. Add them as an authorized user to your account, and they can get in for free.

Another bonus: American Express allows you to transfer Membership Rewards points directly to an authorized user’s frequent flyer account. Unfortunately, Amex has recently added some restrictions to these transfers. But it can still make it much easier to book that trip together.


Amex and COVID: Temporary Benefits During the Pandemic

Banks and credit card companies have gone to great lengths to retain customers during the pandemic, loading up – especially premium travel cards. And the Platinum Card is no exception.


Bottom Line

These Amex Platinum benefits add up. In fact, do it right, and they can easily outweigh the card’s annual fee.

From your trip to the airport to renting a car to clearing immigration on your way back, these Amex Platinum benefits are unbeatable. Make sure you do all of the above to make your travels more comfortable.

amex platinum card

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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